Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Police News

April 18, 2012

UPDATE: Halliburton's fate now in the hands of an Elkhart County jury

GOSHEN — Nicole DeFronzo met Tyrice J. Halliburton at The Big Easy in Elkhart. She liked him from the start.

“He was nice,” DeFronzo said on the witness stand in Elkhart Circuit Court Wednesday. “He was fun, easy to talk to.”

She fell in love with Halliburton and moved in to Bristol’s River Shores Apartments with him. DeFronzo said she was in love with him on March 18, 2008 — the same day Halliburton told her he’d just killed their next-door neighbor.

Prosecutors say Halliburton, 30, stabbed 23-year-old Sheena Kiska to death after she walked in on him burglarizing her apartment. On the third day of his murder trial, Halliburton’s former girlfriend said the same thing.

DeFronzo also said she helped him cover up his involvement in the crime.

DeFronzo said she got a phone call from Halliburton around 2 p.m. March 18, 2008. He told her he’d killed Kiska, DeFronzo said.

“I was in shock,” she testified. “...I didn’t think that was something he would ever tell me.”

DeFronzo said Halliburton was burglarizing Kiska’s apartment. He told her he’d seen Kiska leave the residence, DeFronzo said, and that Kiska came back soon thereafter.

“(Halliburton) didn’t know what to do,” she said. “He didn’t want to get caught. So he killed her.”

DeFronzo said Halliburton told her he’d been in Kiska’s bedroom when he heard her return.

“She was in the bathroom and he attacked her in the bathroom,” DeFronzo added. “...He hit her. She fought him out of the bathroom. ...He began stabbing her out in the hallway.”

A forensic pathologist testified Tuesday that Kiska sustained more than 50 sharp-force wounds.

On March 18, 2008, DeFronzo and Halliburton’s cat, Daisy, was suffering from a possible broken leg. The animal was scheduled for a veterinary appointment in Elkhart at 2 p.m., roughly the same time Halliburton allegedly called DeFronzo with news of the murder.

The two were in separate vehicles that day. Halliburton arrived at the vet’s office around 2:30 p.m., and DeFronzo said the couple went in for Daisy’s appointment.

“Isn’t it odd,” Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill asked DeFronzo, that she learned her boyfriend just killed their neighbor but she dealt with a cat’s broken leg?

“Yes,” DeFronzo replied. She later testified that she and Halliburton agreed to lie about the crime.

DeFronzo said Halliburton told her he put the clothes he was wearing during the murder in a bag, and put the bag in a trash container in Timberbrook Mobile Home Park.

“I believed that was not a good idea,” DeFronzo testified. So the couple retrieved the clothes and set fire to them in a barrel in Elkhart’s Studebaker Park, she said.

DeFronzo said there was blood on the clothes. According to court testimony, the woman who bled on them was in the process of moving out of River Shores when she was killed.

Kiska lived at River Shores with her fiance, Jacob Callihan, 4-year-old daughter and infant son. Callihan said Wednesday that he and Kiska felt unsafe there, that their apartment had been burglarized the month prior to Kiska’s murder.

DeFronzo said Halliburton was the burglar.

She testified that Halliburton showed her what he stole from Kiska and Callihan in February 2008 — a DVD player, camcorder, laptop computer and a lockbox with cash inside. DeFronzo said she and Halliburton bought a second vehicle, a Mazda, with the cash.

Wednesday afternoon, Judge Terry Shewmaker asked Halliburton if he planned to testify in his defense. Halliburton said he didn’t.

“I’m not going to,” he said. “I got this.”

Both the prosecution and the defense rested their cases Wednesday. Closing statements and jury deliberations are set for today.

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